False Alarm

I started using 40 Hz light and sound therapy a little more than a month ago to see if it would help my mild cognitive impairment (MCI). It has been suggested that it can eliminate amyloid plaque, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. (I will give more information about this type of treatment in a coming post.) I wasn’t sure if it would work for me, but I certainly never expected that it could make me worse!

At about the same time, I started taking the memory test I mentioned in the Coping Strategy section.  My score has been going up and down, so I wasn’t sure if the results were really reflecting the condition of my brain. Then about a week ago, I was alarmed to see my score go down steadily and two days ago dropped down to the lowest score I had ever seen. That made me wonder whether the light and sound therapy was having a negative effect on me. So, I started checking my cognitive performance using other methods that I have used in the past to see if the test scores were accurately reflecting my condition.

As I mentioned before, one method I use to evaluate my memory is to count to 100 while doing squats. My ability to count by 10’s is still pretty good. In fact, it may even be better than before. I still do have difficulty finding words, but not any worse than before. Also, when I go grocery shopping, I don’t have to use a list – I can remember everything I need to pick up. I can still order products online without any difficulty. I can also prepare meals using numerous ingredients with, I must say, very good results most of the time. ( My partner does not always agree with me but that’s her problem.) So, functionally I feel like I am still in a pretty good shape and there is very little sign of deterioration.

Then last night, I found out that my concern was probably not necessary – I did another test and my score was right back up at normal levels. Tonight I did another test and it was in a good range as well. I have no idea why my scores were so consistently bad for a little while. I tried to find a correlation with my sleep patterns, exercise or diet, but I was not able to come up with any explanation. It could have simply been that the type of tests I took on those days just happened to be ones that are more difficult for me. Or, maybe I just wasn’t as attentive as I should have been while doing those tests. Anyway, I consider the low scores to be a false alarm.

Regardless, the important lesson for me is that those memory tests vary from day to day for various reasons which may have nothing to do with your cognitive performance. Nonetheless, I will continue doing the test and look for trends over the longer term.

On the bright side, an episode like this makes living with MCI interesting, to say the least!

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